How does fried chicken achieve No. 1 status? Brined, boneless thighs are responsible for incredible dark-meat flavor, and the dredge technique creates an insanely crunchy coating.


  1. Brine:
    • 1 tablespoons yellow mustard seeds
    • 1 tablespoons brown mustard seeds
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons coriander seeds
    • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
    • 2/3 cup kosher salt
    • 1/3 cup sugar
    • 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
  2. Chicken:
    • 8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs (about 3 pounds), halved, quartered if large
    • Vegetable oil (for frying; about 10 cups)
    • 2 cups buttermilk
    • 2 cups all-purpose flour
    • Kosher salt
    • Honey, flaky sea salt (such as Maldon), toasted benne or sesame seeds, hot sauce (for serving)
  3. Special equipment:
    • A deep-fry thermometer


  1. Brine:
    1. Toast mustard and coriander seeds in a dry medium saucepan over medium heat, tossing often, until mustard seeds begin to pop, about 3 minutes. Add vinegar, salt, and sugar and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring often, until salt and sugar are dissolved, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in dill and 4 cups water. Let cool.
  2. Chicken:
    1. Place chicken and brine in a large resealable plastic bag; chill 3 hours. Remove chicken from brine, scraping off seeds, cover, and chill until ready to fry.
    2. Fit a large pot with thermometer and pour in oil to measure 2″. Heat over medium-high heat until thermometer registers 350°F.
    3. Meanwhile, place buttermilk in a large bowl. Place flour in another large bowl; season with kosher salt. Working in batches, coat chicken in buttermilk, then dredge in flour, dipping your fingers in buttermilk as you pack flour on to help create moistened, shaggy bits (the makings of a super-crisp crust); transfer to a baking sheet.
    4. Working in batches and returning oil to 350° between batches, fry chicken, turning occasionally, until skin is deep golden brown and crisp and chicken is cooked through, 6–8 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack set inside a baking sheet.
    5. Drizzle chicken with honey; sprinkle with sea salt and benne seeds. Serve with hot sauce alongside.


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